Join today! Learn to play Harmonica. Upload songs, videos and pictures. Share your progress and get feedback from other members.
Very well said George!
Andy is so correct! Don't try to be all things at once. Get a little down and remember to always think back and say, "that's better than I was before." Sometimes a harp will be bad, but few good workmen blame their tools. Play what you can and be happy, and as you become comfortable with that you'll naturally add some other items to the songs, so it goes. Keep playing and no matter how many strikes you get, you still have one more swing at the plate!
Don't listen to Swapan, he is also nice, cooperative and willing to share, with his own experiences to bring to the table.
Welcome to the club. I play the MS blues quite a bit, I really like to tone you can get out of them. In time you may want to experiment with other harmonicas, such as marine bands, and other brands like seydels, or suzukis. But don't go mad yet. First work on that love of the harmonica you mention. Get that inflamed and you'll soon be doing everything you want.
Without that drive, you may give up. Glad you can play some tunes. But if you are struggling to be smooth, slow down. There is no shame to playing a a tune slowly until it is built into your lips. Speed will come with practise. Often going for speed is counterproductive. I know, I suffer this problem. I've been playing for fifteen months, and have recently started playing simple tunes again, because I rushed the early stuff.
One thing that is important is getting clear single notes. Playing tunes is the fun stuff, but it won't sound that good if you struggle with clear notes, with a good tone. I always work on these as part of my daily routine.
I pushe the harp as deep into my mouth as possible. Get a clear single note, play that for a while, then play a scale slowly, then gradually speed up. Then I change embrochure, from tongue to lip blocking or the other way round and do it again. Then some simple tunes, then the more technical stuff you don't need to worry about yet.
But, the most important thing for you to do is to do what you are doing, practise. Without practise, we'd all get nowhere.
What do you mean not too well? My first tip would be to be patient. The harmonica is harder than it looks, which is why some say 'five minutes to play, five years to master'.
What you should be aiming for is becoming comfortable with the harmonica in you mouth. Depending on your preferred method, there are three, you early goal should be simple breathing through the harmonica, no forcing of air, and trying to get clear single notes.
The three methods are lip pursing/blocking where you sort of shrink your lips to cover the holes you don't want to play. Think of a time when you had a quick mouthful of something really cold like ice cream, or bitter and sucked air in, forming a 'O' with you mouth. That's the aim.
The second is tongue blocking, where you use your tongue to block off the unused notes, leaving a gap either at the left side or right side for air to go through. The choice is yours, as to which side, but eventually you'll want to be able to do both.
The third is U blocking, where you curl the tongue and form a tunnel of air from the back of the mouth to the hole you want.
I can't do the third. Whichever you choose, there is one major tip. You literally cannot force the harmonica too far into your mouth. The deeper into your mouth the harmonica, the better your tone. So push it all the way in and find an embrochure (mouth/lip shape) that works work you.
But above all be patient. And practise.
Good luck and enjoy
I transcribed it from a melodeon tutorial on YouTube. It does seem to be a staple of the UK folk scene.
Hi everyone. Just started with a Seydel blues session C but not getting along very well at present. Grateful for all the advise and tips.
Hello from Texas!!!
Welcome to harmonica tune. First you decide which type of songs(Jazz, Blues, light melodious songs etc.) you want to play. There are experienced, co-operative & nice players(of course not me) are in this club. You will definitely get their advise.
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Though for many years I wasn't that fond of the chromatic harps. I had to give it some more thought once I came across William Clarke playing some hot tunes. ( I've had a 270 for many years just never did anything with it...so time to change my ways perhaps
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I am searching for the Rivers of Babylon tabs, specially for the following part:
Let the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts
Be acceptable in thy sight here tonight
Hope somebody can help me
I'm a new lover of the harmonica and just startet with the first steps. I am 25 years young and live in Dresden, Germany. I hope I can find here help, if I have any questions and maybe I can help somtime too
I play the Hohner blues harp MS in C and I can play already a few songs (but not in a very good flow ) but I keep practicing...
hope to have a good time here.
Greetings from Germany
I can see how simple camfire tunes wouldn't keep you interested after investing so much time learning fiddle and mandolin. Before you give up on harp though, check out a few players like Sam Hinton.
He gets the harp going in a style you may be more familiar with in your experience with old time and trad bands. I've heard the harmonica called "the poor man's fiddle" and for good reason, I think. With practice, you can imitate the fiddle's driving shuffle and double stops too. Also, with tongue blocking, your tongue will naturally throw in the chop you used to play on mandolin.
However it works out, I really hope you find a way to keep enjoying music. Best of luck!
Since nobody else seems inclined to do it, I'll start a chromatic harmonica thread.
I don't really have much to say but since the chromatic discussion is taking off in the bending thread, I think the info might be easier to find if we put it in a dedicated thread. Afterall...how many visitors would come to a forum and look for chromatic discussion in a bending thread?
Just for the sake of getting the ball rolling, I own a Hohner CX12, Super Chromonica 270 and a Swan 1248. I've been playing (trying to play) for about two years now. Love the sound but I'm not thrilled by the mechanical attention required by chromatics.
Hi Swapan,i did send you a message some time ago regarding playing the Chromatic but i cannot locate it, i can only assume that you haven't received it.It may have gone into administration.What is it that you want to know and i will try and help.Eric33.
Hi folks,i have just been to a Chromatic Harmonica Weekend near my home town,and taking one of the workshops was Brendan Power,one of the things he showed us was how to bend the notes more easily on a Chromatic and that was to remove the windsavers Although i wouldn't do it myself as i am a dedicated Chromatic player,it certainly worked.I hope this is of some use.Keep puffing.Eric33..
I have a chromatic, Hohner Chromatica 270. I bought it when struggling to bend the notes on my diatonic harps - I had only two then. A phenomenal growth has followed.
I have heard rumours that you can bend on chromatic but haven't tried it. I just haven't got the hang of memorising the note placements or the slide movements. I'm sure if I gave it more time I would, but I much prefer the glissando effect of bending - essential sliding up and down with continuous tone.